With it being the week of my 26th birthday, I’m slowly accepting the fact that I’m kissing my early 20s goodbye. It’s been a bittersweet realization, but I am so ready to throw up the peace sign at 25 and move onto the next adventure.
My 25th year has actually been one of the hardest of my whole life. I’m not talking like first world problems, I’m talking a cluster of crap that happened all within one year that is usually spaced out for most, but for me, it was all dumped on me starting a little before my 25th birthday. So it’s like, holy moly, 26 better bring good things!
In lieu of beginning my new adventure, I’ve started practicing yoga at the studio in my apartment building. It’s a hot studio and they have a million classes throughout the day, so it’s perfect for me. I’ve been going at least 5 times a week for the past 3 weeks and I totally have embraced it. I know what you’re thinking, “Wow! You’ve been practicing yoga for 3 weeks, please tell me all that you have learned, yogi master.” And I get it. I totally get it. I’m not over here doing the Camel pose on the regular and walking around barefoot with my henna tattoos, but I have learned a thing or two about a thing or two since having gone.
Every class begins with a message to take with you throughout practice and it’s honestly my favorite thing about it. Not only do I reflect on it while I’m sweating like crazy and sliding around on my mat with my butt in the air, but I take the thought with me throughout the day and try to bring it to life.
I thought I would share a few with you that have stuck with me and apply to me bidding adieu to my early 20s.
1. Be present.
For real. This has been the best one and my favorite. It is so, so easy to focus on the past and the shoulda, coulda, wouldas of life, but you know what? You’re here and you’re here now. Whatcha gon do? I’m a big wanderer in the noggin and more often than not, I’m daydreaming and thinking about a time I said something stupid and what I should have said or done to make a situation better, but you know what that does? A whole lotta nothing.
Being present has taught me to enjoy the music I’m hearing in the car, enjoy the guacamole I’m eating at happy hour with my friends, and to hold my warrior 2 pose just a liiiiiiittle longer. Being present has made me realize what and who I have now. Not 6 months ago, 6 weeks ago, 6 days ago, but now. It’s taught me to appreciate what I got. (Please read that in your best Bradley from Sublime voice.)
2. Be selfish.
What? A middle class white girl who practices yoga and does brunch isn’t selfish? Ha. I mean, sure I’m selfish about certain things, but I find myself doing things for people and getting nothing in return, saying yes to things I don’t want to do because I want to make someone happy, and just generally forgetting about myself.
When this idea is applied on the mat, it means taking poses that fit you and your practice. So let’s say the instructor leads us to do something like a Crow that leads to a headstand. Well, ya know what? Maybe I don’t wanna do a headstand. Maybe I’m like super happy to be in my Crow, even if it I’d just for a few seconds. And let’s be real, the only time I can do a headstand is up against a wall. But anyway, the instructor really says to make your practice yours and do what you want.
So off the mat I’ve been practicing this in small ways. I’ve said no to small things, I haven’t bought drinks for people when I normally would and I’ve just done what I want to do. With the mother of a year I’ve had, and learning how to be with just myself, it’s kind of the little things that add up. It’s all about the little things and I think it does everyone good to be a little selfish every now and then. Don’t go all Beruka from Willy Wonka on me, but ya gotta think about yourself a bit.
3. Get over it.
How is that applied to yoga? My Barre instructor shared a story about how she had a student come up to her after and say that she was uncomfortable doing some of the positions and letting loose. For those of you who may not know what Barre is, it’s a class that mixes yoga, ballet and weights. So there’s a lot of bopping, posing and liftin. It’s great! My instructors play a lot of rap that gets the class bouncin’ and I totally let loose and forget I’m working out. With that being said, this student was a little hesitant to let her hair down and let it go. My instructor said her advice was simple, act like no one else is in the room, and you’re good.
I know, it’s simple and you’re like “Really? That’s it?” Well, it worked because the instructor said this student was like Miley Cyrus the next class and has totally done a 180 and is a regular. So if she held onto her insecurities, she wouldn’t have enjoyed herself. She could have been hung up on thinking that others were watching her, but she got over it and totally embraced her weird, thus, leading to a better practice and finding something she liked.
The idea of getting over whatever “it” is seems like a simple idea, but for those of us who dwell on things (raises hand!) we know how hard it is to just move on. It’s not just like “Oh, I shouldn’t be thinking about this because it has negatively effected me? Ah. Alright I’m over it.” And just flick the switch and move on.
Nope. I will overanalyze everything to pieces, but since I heard this little anecdote about letting go and moving on, I’ve ran with it. I’ve gotten over little things that are within my control and have let my hair down a bit.
4. Everyone is Different.
This might sound like something you’d say to a 5 year old, and that’s because that’s exactly what my yoga instructor told her 5 year old. Her little son came up to her with a drawing he made and said he couldn’t believe how awesome his drawings had gotten in the past year. He said he thought it was so silly that he used to draw people with their arms sticking out of their heads and their bellies fat like ticks. My yoga instructor told him that he could draw people however he wanted because there are people who are of all shapes and sizes and everyone is different and beautiful in their own ways.
With the yoga practice, it means that I’m not going to look like the chick next to me, even if we are doing the same pose. We will do it in our own ways and it’ll be beautiful and different.
In a world where everyone is trying to be different, I feel like people are actually all kind of meshing together and turning into the same person. I find myself comparing myself to people all of the time and it’s annoying. It’s not a good trait. After I heard the instructor explain this, I’ve started to think about it every day. I’ll embrace my weird and be different.
So, there ya have it. Deep thoughts with Hannah. I’m just so ready to move on after 25 and I cross my fingers that 26 will be…different. 😊😊